Functional Neurology Massage & Head Injury

brain showing lobes, cerebellum, brain stemWhen you have had whiplash, concussion, trauma or head injury, the brain and nervous system may adapt in ways that make it hard to resume normal life. You may find problems with walking, thinking, speaking, memory and learning. Or you may have lost awareness of a part of your body. You may be hypersensitive to noise or sounds, have sleep disturbances, or pain.

Perhaps fear or anger reactions take you or your family by surprise. Nothing makes sense the way it did before. For example, you may have lost the emotional balance you and your family were accustomed to.

Acquired brain injury (ABI, formerly called traumatic brain injury, TBI) means that your nerves may be fragile. Treating them gently and with awareness of how they work is a specialty for massage therapists. (See posts How Does Functional Neurology Massage Work?, Neuro is a Different Massage, Functional Neuro Controversy, Cutting Edge Neuroscience).

sinking into a sequoiaHow can this help me recover from head injury?

Massage by itself brings a relaxed state that is necessary for healing. It is called the parasympathetic response. This “rest and digest” state counters the “fight or flight” instinct when your body has been injured. Neuro massage is even more specific. It offers new ways to recognize how emotional, mental, and physical symptoms interact.

And it offers more you can do for yourself. There may be exercises for:
•    Head trauma
•    Brain fog, memory and concentration
•    Numbness and tingling
•    Chronic pain of unknown cause
•    Dizziness or imbalance

Rosi’s background and philosophyDSC02281

I have also recovered from Acquired Brain Injury and multiple head injuries. This has taught me compassion and understanding. I never judge when someone can’t speak clearly or express themselves. Or when they can’t remember.

I learned some things from my own struggles to recover. For example,it is important to feel heard and have your emotions validated. It is important to develop body awareness, to practice self-love and self-compassion. So I listen to you. And I teach these skills to you.

Then functional neurology massage training gave me more clinical skills. These exercises help your brain. They help you regain a sense of empowerment. Patience is also important in your recovery. I support you to learn at your own pace as you recover from a head injury.

Jon Kabat-ZinnMindfulness training, such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (Jon Kabat-Zinn) is one of the best things you can do to recover from a brain injury. If you are not used to meditation, I can teach you to access the same state through mindfulness bodywork. Massage, Ortho-Bionomy® and breathwork are additional tools for you to relax, recover from trauma and listen to your body again.

 

Why do I need a neuro assessment?

I modify the massage with the info from a mini-neuro assessment. It helps me know where and how to meet your individual needs. I will check such things as blood pressure and pulse, strength and reflexes, eye movements and balance. I compare left to right.

If these show that there is a difference, I can help your brain function better by how I focus the bodywork. I may massage just on one side of the body, or have you do simple exercises. Just like strength training builds muscles, your nervous system needs exercises to rebuild balance. Self-care is essential for healing.

How is this different from regular massage?

Rosi working on neckDuring your recovery, it is important to not overdo it. Functional neuro assessments and treatments can help me know where to work, how to work, and when to stop.  The idea is to activate healthy changes, or neuroplasticity, to get the nervous system to repair itself.

Some commonly known massage techniques provide too much stimulation. Others encourage you to be too passive. In fact, much of the neuroplasticity research2 shows that what you do for yourself is what gets your nerve pathways to reconnect. But focused massage with gentle bodywork can help. You stay engaged and increase your body awareness as you recover.

canstockphoto10043088Diet and digestion

New nerve pathways also need good nutrition. Your nerves and brain need oxygen, nutrients, and stimulation to regrow. The right stimulation means targeted exercises, but also plenty of rest. High quality foods and an anti-inflammatory diet are the best. I can refer you to a nutritionist or other practitioners, if necessary.

 

Emotions after a head injuryyay-8023680

Normal brain communications may be disrupted after a head injury, In addition, the brain may be on alert as if the trauma threat is still there. Anger erupts with no warning or panic from ordinary tasks. Emotional reactions often trouble people with frontal head injury.

Massage is well known to benefit the nervous system, calm emotions, induce relaxation, relieve pain, and stimulate communications across the brain and between the brain and the body. I also use the approach from Ortho-Bionomy of empowering you, honoring your body’s wisdom, listening to the body’s intelligence.

yay-9393380Want to know more?

Call to schedule a free half-hour consultation to find if functional neurological massage and Ortho-Bionomy with emotional integration can benefit you, or help you with recovery from a head injury. 503-708-2911.

1 The Carrick Institute and Chiropractic Functional Neurology.
2
Umphred’s Neurological Rehabilitation

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